Childhood obesity can lead children on the path to a number of health problems – including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
But according to a recent study, overweight children also face a higher risk of dementia in old age.
Scientists tracked 1,244 people for 30 years from school to middle age and found those who were overweight or unfit, between the ages of seven and 15, performed worse on brain tests in their forties.
The experts revealed that lower scores make them more likely to develop dementia later in life.
Lead author Professor Michele Callisaya, from Monash University, in Australia, said: “Protective strategies against future decline may need to start as far back as early childhood.”
Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “For most of us, our risk of dementia comes down to a complex mix of our genes, lifestyle and age.
“While experts believe middle age is a key time for us to take action to reduce our dementia risk, some aspects of childhood may also influence the long-term health of our brains.
“It’s never too early or too late in life to take steps to support our brain health.”
The NHS have highlighted the most common early symptoms of dementia. These include:
Finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks
Struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
Being confused about time and place
Dementia affects people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
If you have experienced any of these warning signs, it is important to consult your GP.